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What We Do

The mission of the NRGNHA is to help sustain the communities, languages, cultures, traditions, heritage and environment of Northern New Mexico. Actions to achieve our mission are built around specific strategies.

Support traditions, heritage and culture to enhance understanding and awareness of the Heritage Area’s stories and resources:

Some of our work supports individual organizations that are presenting and preserving traditions and elements of the culture. One recent highly successful project provided funding to the Site Steward Foundation for creation of a DVD, A Gift From the Earth, which guides and demonstrates traditional pottery making in North Central New Mexico for distribution to schools. In other projects we have supported creation of student videos in the Española High School, provided funding for the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Mariachi group, and supported a Tribal youth farm project at San Ildefonso Pueblo.

We also provide grants and technical support to community development programs, non-profit groups and organizations, and local and tribal governments engaged in efforts to sustain their communities’ traditions, heritage and culture. Some of these grants funded preservation or restoration, as for the San Miguel Mission, La Sala de Galisteo Community Center, or the Martínez Hacienda in Taos. Others provided for recording of history or inventory of resources, as in projects for the Acequia Agua Fria and the Mesa Prieta Petroglyphs.

Each project expanded awareness of the Heritage Area’s resources and promoted understanding of its history and stories. As older generations disappear, it is essential that such awareness and understanding be passed along to students and other young people. Through partnerships with schools, colleges, tribal and internship programs, and through multi-generational mentoring and hands-on experiential learning, we work to help youth gain a deeper understanding of language and history, as well as traditional practices in farming, arts and crafts.

Create partnerships to collaborate in achieving cultural preservation:

NRGNHA is a coordinating entity, bringing together and collaborating with non-profit groups and organizations from across the fields of education, business, and government that are united by common interests. One example of our work among different organizations is a community development project with the Village of Chimayó and Santa Fe County over the last year, in which we have provided technical support to develop a community plan and to move forward initiatives that are supported by community residents. We see this as a model that may be replicated in other communities, so we are establishing ties with community and business support groups, pueblo and tribal governments, and state agencies like the Historical Records Advisory Board of the New Mexico State Records and Archives.

NRGNHA has established or is pursuing working partnerships with cultural centers throughout the Heritage Area, such as, El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, the Chimayo Cultural Center, the Taos Museums, the Northern NM Regional Arts Center in Española, El Rancho de las Golondrinas, the Mesa Prieta Petroglyphs Project, and the Ghost Ranch facility. These key relationships are vital links to the communities and essential to tapping into the local passion and enthusiasm for promoting and preserving cultural interests. We are pursuing and have partnered with Northern New Mexico College and are reaching out to other educational institutions to develop programs and curricula that explore northern New Mexico’s culture, history and heritage.

Promote economic development and tourism:

Encouraging economic development is sometimes seen as being at odds with protecting the environment and preserving local culture. But, increased interest in environmental and heritage tourism offers opportunity for rural communities to develop new economic interests that not only provide economic growth but in themselves work to enhance traditional cultural education.

We are creating a Gateway Partnership program to expand on the scope of the general partnerships listed above, and to specifically target economic development and heritage or cultural tourism. These partnerships are established through written agreements that define individual responsibilities and that target creating a strong physical presence for the program of the Gateway Partner and for NRGNHA. One such partnership would be with El Museo Cultural in Santa Fe. El Museo is situated on the Railyard at the terminus of the rail line, providing a very visible “gateway” entrance to the culture of Santa Fe and the North.

We are assisting in negotiation of a marketing/retail agreement between El Museo and Ganados del Valle/Tierra Wools, to provide a market outlet on the Railyard of Tierra Wools products, as well as, of artist works from Northern New Mexico artists. El Museo will promote the Heritage Area and offer a facility presence for NRGNHA in Santa Fe. NRGNHA will provide technical support.